Is there anything more gratifying than finding uses for a “small harvest” from the garden to enhance a meal? Well, after a thoroughly enjoyable and productive gardening session, my husband and I stopped by one of our favorite shops on the way home – Proper Sausages is an artisanal store located in Miami Shores, specializing in homemade (off-the-scale!) sausages as well as a range of other meats and goodies (like bacon jam, homemade condiments, incredible sandwiches, etc.). As soon as we laid eyes on the bleu cheese burgers, we knew what dinner would be. Adding a package of those wonderful special buns they have, along with two pounds of the best bacon in town, we were on our way.
So what does all this have to do with gardening? Well now came the challenge of what to go with our burgers, and could we use some of the things we harvested this morning from our community garden, along with our small home garden? Yes we could!
So for starters, we had thinned out some rows of tatsoi (Asian spinach) seedlings – aren’t they cute?! When we directly seed plants into the garden beds, we start them very close together to ensure adequate sprouting. After a couple of weeks, we thin them to a greater distance apart to allow proper growth of the young plants. In the case of the tatsoi, we left them an inch apart because we will later transplant many of them around to other beds. This is one of our most popular crops; it’s so far the only “wintertime” spinach we can grow here in South Florida. We have many enthused takers for the harvest, as it can be eaten raw or cooked, and substitutes well for regular spinach in recipes.
So it was tedious, but worth it to pull the little dirty root off the end of each sprout so I would have these to put on our burgers. Delightful!
Next up was what to do for a side dish – having some sweet potatoes we needed to use up, I found the perfect recipe in The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook: “Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges” – which included an avocado/buttermilk dip. I was lucky to have all the ingredients on hand, from a good stock of spices like smoked paprika and chipotle powder, to fresh rosemary, some flat leaf parsley and fresh garlic chives (all from the garden), to ripe avocados as well as the terrific Marburger’s buttermilk we get from Publix. I added in a few large carrots for volume and the dish turned out delicious (see for yourself!).
Of course we needed some green veggies so a salad was in order to round out the meal. Enter our beautiful, mildly piquant radishes fresh from the garden. We typically grow a variety of radishes throughout the season. These (pictured) are called “China Rose” and the seeds were purchased from Seed Savers Exchange – see our post on buying seeds for more information on our favorite sources.
It was a lovely dinner – and it may have been a “small harvest,” but it was a big feeling of pride and joy to have fresh veggies and herbs we’ve grown ourselves added to the mix.
Now something left to use from our small harvest was our generous handful of bush beans, both green and purple. So they’re saved for my next batch of steamed vegetables. By the way – much to my surprise and mild disappointment, those brilliant purple beans? They turn green when you cook ‘em! Darn!